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Types of Damages Awarded in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Feb 4, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

Each US state has designed its own laws relating to medical malpractice; thus, it is important to understand New York State’s medical malpractice laws so you know more about this process that you may already be involved in or are contemplating in this vital northeastern state.

In the legal world, the term medical malpractice is used to describe situations where a medical practitioner has breached the standard of care, which leads to damages or injuries to a patient. The "standard of care" is the widely accepted treatment method that a medical practitioner uses to treat a patient afflicted with a particular medical condition. This standard of care will vary based on the type of ailment, the patient’s age, pre-existing conditions, and some other factors.

In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has to show that a medical practitioner breached the standard of care, which directly caused the injury to the patient. In most cases, this breach of standard of care can only be proved with the expert testimony of a qualified medical expert. In a medical malpractice case, the legal judgment consists of a monetary compensation, known as a damage that the defendant pays to the plaintiff.

This damage usually covers losses associated with the malpractice, such as incurred medical expenses, hospital bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and punitive damages in some cases.

New York State’s statute of limitations

The state of New York grants up to two-and-a-half years to a plaintiff to file a medical malpractice case. The monetary compensation that a victim of medical malpractice seeks is known as damages. Many US states have legislated "caps" or limits on how much a medical malpractice victim can seek as damages from a guilty healthcare provider or medical practitioner.

Legal requirements for claiming malpractice damages in New York

To claim damages for medical malpractice, the harmed patient must show beyond reasonable doubt that the medical practitioner or a hospital is guilty of medical malpractice. Here is typically how an NY malpractice attorney would argue a case:

· The damage did not exist before the medical malpractice incident

· The medical malpractice directly caused the damages to the patient

· The damages caused by the medical malpractice can only be remedied by a financial compensation paid to the plaintiff.

Types of damages awarded in NY malpractice cases

There are three main types of damages available in New York medical malpractice cases:

· The compensatory damages usually comprise of medical expenses, loss of wages, and potential loss of earnings.

· The non-economic damages comprise of intangible losses like pain and suffering.

· The punitive damages are designed to punish the healthcare provider for a malicious or fraudulent act.

Damage caps in a medical malpractice claim

Some states have enforced a ceiling or a cap on the maximum amount of money that a plaintiff can receive, regardless of the type of injuries sustained. The cap amount varies from one US state to another.

Damage recovery in case of death of a patient

In case a patient dies due to medical malpractice, then a survival statute allows the patient’s heirs or estate to recover damages occurring in the period between the discovery of the initial medical malpractice and the time of the patient’s death. The survival statute allows the plaintiff to seek the same damages as in regular medical malpractice cases.

Some other factors impacting medical malpractice damages

The following factors can proportionately reduce the amount of damages that can be claimed in a NY malpractice case:

· Pre-existing medical conditions: If the defendant can prove that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were just an aggravation of a medical condition that existed prior to the malpractice incident.

· Patient negligence: If the defendant can prove that the patient’s own negligence led to the sustained injuries. Some states even bar negligent patients from claiming damages.

The role of a medical malpractice attorney in recovering damages

As damage calculation in a NY medical malpractice case can be a highly technical process, any patient seeking medical malpractice damages should consult with a medical malpractice attorney before filing a lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer is well equipped to handle the legal process and complex court trials.

Call us at 212 697 9280

The best medical malpractice law firm in NYC is the law firm of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law. They can be reached at 212 697 9280 and will be cordially waiting your call.

We know this arena. You pay us nothing for the first meeting. We are not paid until you are paid. We have doctors on speed dial and other medical professionals that can help substantiate your case.